On October 1, 2013, three same-sex couples, and the minor child of one of the couples, filed a lawsuit against Kanawha County, West Virginia. The plaintiffs, represented by Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, asked the court to declare unconstitutional any West Virginia laws banning same-sex ...
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On October 1, 2013, three same-sex couples, and the minor child of one of the couples, filed a lawsuit against Kanawha County, West Virginia. The plaintiffs, represented by Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, asked the court to declare unconstitutional any West Virginia laws banning same-sex marriage, enjoin West Virginia from refusing to recognize same-sex marriages undertaken in other states, and to award the plaintiffs reasonable attorney's fees and costs of suit.
The plaintiffs claimed that their rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the United States Constitution were violated. They further asserted that the ban on same-sex marriage discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, sex, and parental status. The plaintiffs also felt that they were being denied a multitude of other social and legal rights that marriage provides.
On December 2, 2013, the Court (Judge Robert C. Chambers) granted the State of West Virginia's Motion to intervene as a defendant. The Court stayed the case
on June 10, 2014, pending the outcome of Bostic v. Schafer
, a Fourth Circuit case which had a substantial overlap in issues with McGee v. Cole. The holding in Bostic, that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, controlled this case.
On November 7, 2014, the Court, in keeping with Bostic, applied strict scrutiny to the marriage ban and found that it was not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest, and decided in favor of the plaintiffs. It issued an opinion and order which granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, while denying the State of West Virginia's motion to dismiss. In the order, the Court disagreed that there would be uniformity problems regarding the enforcement of the marriage ban across the counties of West Virginia. While the defendants claimed that the decision would only ban the named clerks from denying same-sex couples marriage licenses, the Court found that would not be the case. The Court further held that the marriage ban was not a narrowly-tailored state interest, and that it violated the plaintiffs' constitutional rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. The case ended on November 7, 2014.
As of March 15, 2015, the apportionment of the lawyers' fees and costs was still being decided.Megan Dolan - 02/16/2015
Claire Lally - 03/15/2015